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AOL Radio: Can Less Equal More?

AOL Radio relaunched today with new features, easier navigation, and 50% less commercials.

Bloomberg reports that AOL is cutting back to 3 minutes of commercials per hour. If they were previously running 6 minutes per hour, it’s no wonder they had trouble keeping listeners tuned in.

AOL Radio’s General Manager Lisa Namerow says that too many ads was the most common complaint among listeners. Not surprising, as we’ve learned that consumers have very different feelings about ads in different formats.

For example, TV watchers tolerate, and sometimes even enjoy, the commercials that run during their favorite shows. But surveys have shown that people don’t like seeing ads when they watch those same shows online. Maybe it’s simply a case of not knowing how to complain when it’s a TV or radio ad. With online, it’s easy to hit that contact us button and grouse.

TV and Tablets: Let the Multitasking Begin

Remember when TV commercial breaks were used to grab a snack from the kitchen? Now, people are using commercial breaks to look up coupons for snacks, chat with friends and check their email. It’s not enough that we multitask all day long at work, but now, thanks to tablets and smartphones, we’re doing it during our leisure hours, too.

New numbers from Nielsen show that 42% of tablet owners use the device daily while watching TV. 40% of smartphone owners reported the same with up to 24% saying they did it at least a few times a week.

What are they doing on those devices? Mostly checking email, but social networking was also popular with women. Men were more likely to check sports scores and 46% simply took their browser for a spin to see what’s what.

Google Wallet In Action

About a month ago, we wrote about the introduction of Google Wallet.

The video below comes from the Google Mobile blog. The point is to show Google Wallet in action and the general reaction to the service. There are plenty of smiling faces and strong reactions. What it not so clear is whether the reaction is to the Google Wallet functionality (which is pretty cool) or the fact that Google was making these purchases for these people. Let’ assume there was a fair mix of both :-). Take a look at the video though because this technology (which is only available on the Google Nexus S 4G from Sprint currently).

What’s important to note is that Google Wallet also manages discounts and loyalty rewards for the merchants that are currently involved in the program.

Sears Embraces Online for Offline with in Store WiFi and iPad Access

A few weeks ago, I went to Best Buy to purchase a new printer. We got it down to two options and wanted to compare the specs but a lot of the information was missing from the shelf tag.

Next best thing, ask the salesman, who politely suggested we could find that information online. Good idea, except that my favorite electronics retailer doesn’t offer free in-store WiFi and 3G connection within their walls is spotty and highly reliant on standing in exactly the right spot.

How sad is it when technology retailer can’t get the tech right?

Enter Sears, America’s die-hard, age-old, retail institution. This holiday season, they’ll not only be offering free WiFi at many of their locations, they’ll be encouraging shoppers to go online while shopping in their stores.

Global Ad Spend Expected to Hit $500 Billion

Though the economy still has us all singing the blues here in the US, eMarketer says that global digital ad spending will continue to shine on through. The rough estimate is $500 billion spent by the end of the year thanks in part to the rise in mobile marketing.

As you can see from this chart (over there –>) North America is responsible for the largest chunk of the spend and that trend is expected to continue. However, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are all making their move.

Asia, in particular, is being influenced by mobile marketing. It’s one of the areas where mobile devices are the primary means of accessing the internet and though they only sit at about 55.4% penetration right now, that number should rise to 73% by 2015. Says eMarketer, that’s “an eye-popping 2.9 billion mobile phone users.”

Tablets Slowly Eat Away Mobile’s Lock on Non-Computer Traffic

The overwhelming majority of people on the internet got there by using a computer. But in the US, 6.8% of them got there using an alternate device. The majority of those people did it with their mobile phone, but an increasing number are using tablets and that percentage is rising fast.

comScore has just released a new whitepaper called “Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits.” It’s a long name for a data-loaded report that should interest anyone in mobile marketing (which should be anyone reading this post.)

Take a look at this chart:In just a few short months, tablet usage jump up from 22.5% to 28.1%, and they did it by eating into both the mobile and “other device” categories.

Tis the Season to be Mobile?

A great gauge of just how deeply anything is being adopted in the Internet space is how much it is used during the holiday buying season. We come into this year’s holiday season with enough concern and trepidation due to the current economic status of just about everyone on the planet but as Internet marketers we have to overlook these things and see if something is working despite these concerns.

We have been ushering in the year of mobile for at least the last half decade but it’s finally safe to say that the mobile age is truly upon us. eMarketer reference a survey performed by PayPal and Ipsos to see what percentage of people may use mobile devices (phones and tablets) to purchase this year